Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fearless Variation

Les fleurs
by Natalia Goncharova

Natalia Goncharova's Les fleurs, painted circa 1912, recently was sold at auction at Christie's in London. With a final bid of £4.6 million ($9.6 million), Natalia Goncharova became the "most expensive" female painter on the art market.

Artists are generally given advice to adhere to a given style, yet one can look to Goncharova's ceaseless reevaluation of painterly possibilities and recognize that she did not develop one signature style, but many.

Goncharova articulated her artistic ambitions as follows, 'Do drawings of things, the landscape, people just as they appear at a given moment in your imagination; fear nothing, no deformity of any kind, no fabrication, no fantasy. Try out various styles and methods, emphasizing first one part, then another, now movement, now the very position of the object itself in space and its relationship to others. Change them according to your imagination and instinct, urge yourself to do it precisely that way or in accordance with the idea that you have worked out consciously in your own mind' (N. Goncharova, quoted in exh. cat., Amazons of the Avant-Garde, New York, 2000, p. 310).

If an artist is being true to their inner self and not to "the market", drawing artistic inspiration from their environment and their imagination, it follows that there will be an authenticity in their oeuvre that will be lacking otherwise. Without a focus that is heavily reliant on ideas of personal authenticity, the artistic expression becomes marginal and indistinctive. Is that perhaps that the true differentiation between genius and average art?

Marshlands, Paludes
by Sharon A. Hart

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